Thursday 27 October 2016

Votes for Irish emigrants and people in the North proposed in 'New Seanad'

Published 13/04/2015 | 11:31

Maurice Manning
Maurice Manning

PEOPLE living North of the Border and Irish emigrants should have a vote to choose the country's Senators.

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That is at the heart of new plans to reform the upper house of parliament from an expert group set up the Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny set up the group after voters rejected his effort to abolish Seanad Eireann in October 2013.

Currently the 60 Senators are chosen by a mix of indirect means.

The Taoiseach has the right to nominate 11 members; 43 are chosen by city and county councillors, TDs and Senators; and six are elected by university graduates.

Under the new proposal 36 Senators would be directly elected by everyone, and 13 more would be elected by third level graduates, while the remaining 11 would still be nominated by the Taoiseach.

Everybody would have only one vote, and graduates would have to choose whether they were go with third level college option or the general body of Senators.

Votes for people in the North would be restricted to Irish citizens while emigrants would have to be current Irish passport holders.

The report authors were restricted in the number of changes they could recommend by the terms of the 1937 Constitution which can only be changed by referendum.

The expert group was chaired by historian and former TD and Senator, Maurice Manning, and included politicians from all parties and independents.

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